New Zealand mud snails are tiny, but can pose a big problem. Each snail is about one eighth of an inch long but, like zebra and quagga mussels, they cluster in high density and reproduce quickly. The snails compete with native snails and other macro-invertebrates for food and space in waterways they invade.
Originally from New Zealand, the snails are now widespread in many western states and present in Wisconsin. They are easily transported and resilient, and can survive in damp environments for up to 26 days, said Sarah LeSage, aquatic invasive species coordinator with the Michigan Department of Environmental Quality.
The snails were originally discovered this summer between Gleason’s Landing and Baldwin in the Pere Marquette River — a popular stretch for fishers, canoeists and kayakers. Subsequent surveys have found the snails in more downstream spots.
“It was an unfortunate discovery that was more widespread than we’d originally known,” she said.
It’s like looking for mushrooms, right out in the open and they see you long before you see them.
According to The Lake County Star, Two local organizations are assisting the United States Department of Agriculture Forest Service in mapping and eventually treating invasive plant species on the Pere Marquette River. In conjunction with the Baldwin/White Cloud Ranger District, the Lake County Riverside Property Owners Association and Pere Marquette Watershed Council have co-funded a scholarship for a college intern to inventory and map non-native invasive plant species on the river from the forks south of Baldwin to the Upper Branch Bridge.
Invasive species can be hard to define or accept, have you ever had the experience of trying to retrieve a partridge from a tangle of autumn olive?, or landed a nice brown trout? (not a plant but still an invasive species) There are 45 non-native invasive plant species in the Manistee National Forest, but the three you most likely notice are Purple Loosestrife, Autumn Olive, and Phragmites. These love wetlands and riverbanks and crowd out native plants.
Once the survey is complete the Forest Service will develop a plan to treat invasives on their land and homeowners who participated will receive information on how to treat their own land, if interested.
Invasive plants and their control is a subject we will try to cover often.